Genre Talk

Friends… Lend Me Your Shifters

PrintI have a somewhat embarrassing confession to make: I don’t really read shifters. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe the “insta-mate” trope bothers me a little. The idea that two wolves/bears/dolphins/whatever so much as sniff each other and suddenly BAM! they are head over heels, they are going to the chapel, or at least ready to get buck-wild in the woods together. Not that I have anything against getting buck wild in the woods – what two consenting wolves do together under the full moon is totally their biz, right? It’s just… I have trouble buying it as a romance. It’s okay, you can all throw stuff at me.

Maybe it’s the time a friend of mine mentioned werewolves are basically just overgrown dogs, and when they get wet they’ll have “wet dog smell,” and wet dog smell ain’t sexy. Hmm.

At the same time, I know other readers love that stuff and I have read books where the heroes are sexy and the subject matter is handled pretty well. I read Soulless by Gail Carriger and fell very much in love with Lord Maccon and his burly, roast chicken eating, werewolf ways. Not to mention, I like to think that meeting my husband was love at first sight, so I can’t totally diss that whole “insta-love” concept.

The more I think about it, the more these shifter beasts get under my skin. I’ve been toying with a series idea, even, which is why I guess you should never say never.

But here’s what’s interesting to me: Some other authors and I took a poll recently, asking romance readers what their favorite paranormal creature was. Shifters won hands down, but the type of shifter was all over the map. Weres, dragons, cats… There were species I hadn’t even thought about.

Clearly, I need to broaden my horizons, here.

It got me to wondering, so I’d love to hear: What’s your favorite shifter, and why?

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17 thoughts on “Friends… Lend Me Your Shifters

  1. I’m a vamp person not a shifter one. Am reading Full Moon by Patricia Brigss which is shifter, Suzanne Johnson in royal street has some shifting going on and I recently read Tanya Huff Blood Trail, very shifter and very good

  2. I wrote a novel in which a wizard (an interesting but relatively minor character) was fascinated with shape changing. He eventually figured out how to change himself into a wolf, and to change another character from a sort-of-tree into a sort-of-human, but his grand project was to create a creature that blended hawk, snake, monkey and cat into an endearing creature called a haw’cat. Another major character was given the gift of a dragon’s heart which gave him a dual identity as a dragon.

    I think, though, that my favourite shifters were the wizards in the Belgariad who could turn themselves into wolves or hawks. If there’s a common theme here, it’s the idea of change-through-wizardry rather than were-nature. (Which inevitably brings to mind The Once and Future King…)

    And I really don’t like the idea of fated love. I don’t have a problem with ‘love at first sight’, but fated love is just irritating.

  3. I do love shifters, and often the instant mate recognizing does not mean insta love. They will have to work for that, especially if the mate is human. I love big cats and dragons. Jennifer Ashley has a great series, Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series is amazing, Patricia Briggs writes two awesome series, and I can go on and on. I do love the Gail Carriger books very much as well, even her YA spin off. Some lesser known authors are Pamela Palmer and Susan Sizemore and Jacquelyn Frank.

  4. In my current universe my shifters find their mates based on their best genetic matches. It’s not “fated”, but the pheremones do kick in once they meet. I’ve got a set of fraternal twins, half werejackal/werewolf whose parents met at a furry convention.

    • I think I’ve heard of a tongue-in cheek gay romance with a boa-shifter, now that you mention snakes. 😉 I do like the idea of a dragon or a bear. Something large and commanding. I suppose a shifter doesn’t have to be huge, but in my mind that makes more sense for some reason.

  5. My favorite shifters are dog and cat like ones, and maybe that has to do with my comfort of those animals in a pet like sense more than others. I’m a dog lover, so Were’s, wolf etc… works for me and a sleek panther, holla! I always found the attraction of other shifters group to group interesting too…but it needs to make some sense if possible. I guess in the end it’s just that animal magnetism personified in a delectable man that makes it work for me. Hope that helps 😉

  6. Ilona Andrews writes an urban fantasy with a strong romantic vibe. The male lead of the romance is a were-American Lion (his bloodline is ANCIENT). The heroine is also hit on a lot by a pure shapeshifter–he’s male, but he can choose to look like anyone or about anything. If I have a complaint, it’s that Curran is excessively alpha.

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